All the best pocket rockets from Frankfurt
16 September 2009

Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari

For those who can’t afford one of Maranello’s finest the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari could be just the ticket. The limited-edition Fiat 500 could also appeal to Ferrari owners who want a small everyday car. In doing so it will be tapping a similar market that Aston Martin is eyeing with its Toyota iQ-based Cygnet.However, the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari will have more performance than the Cygnet, as it is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged T-Jet engine with "more than 177bhp". This is linked to an electromechanical paddle-shift gearbox. The suspension and braking systems have been strengthened to cope with the extra power; 284mm Brembo discs with four-piston calipers provide stopping power.

Seat Leon Cupra R

If you want maximum bangs for your bucks the Leon Cupra R takes some beating. The new range-topping Leon is fitted with the same engine that will appear in the Scirocco R, a modified version of the EA113 2.0-litre direct injection from the previous Golf GTI.However the Cupra R is expected to undercut the top Scirocco by at least £5000, retailing at around £21,000 in the UK. This makes the Cupra R not only the most potent production Seat ever but also as powerful as the title-winning SEAT Leon TDI World Touring Car.The front-wheel-drive Leon is now capable of hitting 62mph in 6.1sec and a top speed of 155mph. Combined fuel consumption is just under 35mpg. Filling the arches are 19in double-spoke alloy wheels with 235/35 tyres.Inside, the Cupra logo features on the leather steering wheel and competition-style bucket seats, while the ‘R’ appears on the LED-lit dials. The Cupra R is highly likely to make it to the UK market but this has yet to be confirmed.

Volkswagen Golf R

If your idea of a hot Golf is a boxy hatchback from the seventies and eighties, with low weight and modest power, then turn away now. This is the Golf R is the most powerful and quickest variant of the firm’s hatchback ever to reach production. With 266bhp, 236lb ft of torque and a new hydraulic four-wheel drive system, the Golf R can go from 0-62mph in 5.7sec, or 5.5sec if equipped with VW’s DSG dual-clutch transmission. Its top speed is electronically limited to 155mph.Closely linked to the set-up used in Audi’s S3, the new four-wheel drive system is designed to react more quickly than the Haldex transmission from the previous-gen Golf R32, and up to 100 per cent of torque can be apportioned to the rear wheels. Power comes from a tuned version of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder EA113 engine, the unit used in the last-generation Golf GTI and the current Audi S3. It receives a new head gasket, uprated pistons and conrods, and high-pressure injectors, as well as an upgraded turbocharger and a revised intercooler.

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Fiat Abarth Grande Punto SuperSport

A contender for longest name at the show, the Abarth Grande Punto SuperSport was overshadowed by its lairy Abarth 695 sibling but this doesn't mean it can be ignored.The 'SS' upgrade kit means the car is powered by a 177bhp 1.4-litre 16v engine with 199lb ft of torque, and has a top speed of 134mph. It his 62mph in 7.5sec. The Abarth Grande Punto SuperSport sits on harder springs, performance 215/40 R18 tyres and a special design of 18-inch alloy wheels.It also has performance brakes, with perforated discs front and rear and uprated pads up front. Inside, the car gets leather racing seats and a Magneti Marelli designed sat-nav system that also provides telemetry.The sat-nav display can show engine revs, vehicle speed and the gear engaged. It can also be set to 'Track' mode, so that - if the car is on a circuit in the SD card's memory - the screen display's its position on the track. It will also store speed and other telemetry, which can be downloaded later. The Abarth Grande Punto SuperSport will go on sale on 12 September.

Mini Coupe Concept

If you want you pocket rocket as extreme as they come then the Mini Coupe Concept, a car BMW is calling a “pocket Porsche”, is well worth a look. Anyone who has driven a Mini Cooper JCW will know this is a car that doesn’t need to be any more hardcore – but that’s exactly what the coupe is. It is a JCW but the production version will be even more focused. The biggest change is the new top half of the car. The aluminium roof makes the coupé 136mm lower, reduces weight and significantly lowers the centre of gravity. The coupe may be billed as a concept designed to celebrate 50 years of the Mini, but BMW is serious about building the car; it hopes to bring it to market in two to three years’ time as a rival for the Audi TT and forthcoming Peugeot RCZ. The design of the roof was inspired by a baseball cap that Mini design director Gert Hildebrand’s teenage son was wearing backwards.

Renaultsport Megane 250

Renault’s fast hatches have always been a thorn in VW’s side and the new Renaultsport Megane 250 shows the French firm is not ready to give up. The new model will come with either the standard sports chassis or the more extreme cup version, which also features a limited-slip differential. Power comes for a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine, which produces 247bhp and 251lb ft of torque.The hot Renaultsport Megane 250 will get a high-tech lap timer when it goes on sale in November. The Focus RS rival has been on show at Frankfurt sporting a "Renaultsport Monitor" display in the middle of the dashboard.This function shows the demands being put on the engine and "real-time" performance of the unit. It also shows lateral acceleration, 0-60mph times, lap times and allows the driver to tweak the throttle mapping. A gearchange warning light is also built in.

Join the debate


16 September 2009

Why is it that Alfa's aren't given much importance in Autocar...and when they are it is most of the times negative...what about the new Alfa Mito Quadrifoglio Verde in this article? A 4mt hatch with a revolutionary MultiAir engine just launched packing 170bhp is certainly a hot hatch IMO!

Jim Holder

Editorial Director, Autocar

16 September 2009

[quote kenrizzo]and when they are it is most of the times negative[/quote]

Most articles I read about Alfa's in most mags are negative, not just Autocar. There's a article in Evo by one of their contributors stating that Alfa currently makes no decent cars. He also commented on how wrong it seemed that his Kia hire car was a more well sorted car than his test Mito.

Maybe when Alfa improves the dynamic abilities of their cars they'll get a better press.

Let the pro Alfa replies commence.

16 September 2009

So where is the rumoured Audi RS3 that was supposed to be shown at Frankfurt?

16 September 2009

[quote kenrizzo]Why is it that Alfa's aren't given much importance in Autocar...and when they are it is most of the times negative...what about the new Alfa Mito Quadrifoglio Verde in this article? A 4mt hatch with a revolutionary MultiAir engine just launched packing 170bhp is certainly a hot hatch IMO![/quote]

That's my thought, but that would ruin the MINI's publicity!

17 September 2009

[quote Jim Holder]

Have you read this?


No I hadn't read it and I'm pleased I did now, well 3/4 of it was about explaining the MultiAir tech rather than the car but anyway. However I rest my case even further after reading that article: how can Autocar not classify it within an article entitled Autocar's Frankfurt Hot Hatches?

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